Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of Video Eyewear and Smart Glasses products in the consumer, commercial and entertainment markets announced Feb. 26 that it had been awarded the remaining ~$75,000 Phase I Option and a ~$680,000 Phase II, Small Business Innovation Research award from the Office of Naval Research.
The SBIR entitled “Head Worn Display (Augmented Reality for Military Training Applications” is to develop the thin see through waveguide based optics and display engines fitted in a pair of goggles that are low-cost and high-performance to superimpose computer generated information on an individual’s view of the real world.
PHASE II of this SBIR will be to develop the optics and display engines and partner with Six15 Technologies to integrate those optics into a standard pair of goggles that will deliver high-performance imagery to superimpose computer-generated information on an individual’s view of the real world. For simplicity, we will call this a Head Worn Display.
Augmented reality is a technology that places virtual computer-generated objects into a person’s field of view. Placing virtual characters, objects, and effects in the real world has the potential to revolutionize training. Currently, one of the biggest challenges to using augmented reality technologies in dismounted applications is the head worn display. There is a need for augmented reality HWDs that have the form factor of sunglasses or ballistic goggles and can operate for hours without needing to be recharged. The commercial sector is rapidly developing augmented reality applications for smart phones, but a consumer grade HWD is needed for serious military training applications.
Follow-on phases of the award, which are expected to be valued at significantly higher dollar value, will develop field deployable solutions with larger field of views that can be put to work in the simulation and training needs of the U.S. Navy.
“The engineering team at Vuzix demonstrated an in-depth command of the technical and development challenges for the requirements of this award,” said Paul Travers, Vuzix president. “Our technology showed the greatest innovation and the ability to provision displays to meet the see through and wide field of view requirements of the Navy’s program.”
“This system is based on an advanced optical waveguide version of Vuzix’s see-through optics technology that enables high definition displays to be incorporated into very thin lenses similar to normal eyeglasses,” Travers continued. “Vuzix will be working with our partners Six-15 Technologies to integrate the display engines into existing goggles and looks forward to moving this effort to potential phase III procurement program with our partners at Six-15 Technologies.”